Top 16 Elimination Roundup

Here are exit interview transcripts from  MTV. And  from Entertainment Weekly, Antonella Barba and Sabrina Sloan  and Jared Cotter and Sundance Head.  

  • All four contestants were surprised to be eliminated.
  • A few of the contestants mentioned the songs they were planning to sing next week for Diana Ross week.   And yes, it looks like the Top 12 get to choose from the Diana Ross catalog–a good thing for the girls, maybe not so much for the boys.
  • Antonella Barba does not rule out the possibility of posing for a men’s magazine.
  • The Idol publicist would not allow Antonella to answer many questions about the photo scandal.   When she did, she appeared to be reading off a prepared statement.
  • Jared Cotter claims he saw Ryan’s cue card before he read it.   He said even when he saw it, he still could not believe it.
  • Sundance Head  would have considered singing his dad, Roy Head’s, hit single if there had been an opportunity.
  • After the show Thursday, the AI psychiatrist broke the news to Sundance that his second cousin had died in a house fire earlier that day.
  • According to, Sundance told Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS morning radio show that “One of the guys remaining on the show–whose name he wouldn’t mention–thinks he already has the competition in the bag.   You can listen to the interview here.

Read more highlights after the jump…  


Did you get an opportunity to talk to them after the show last night?
No. We don’t really get to see the judges outside of the show. I just tried to get my mind off it. I went out to dinner with some friends and we basically started thinking about all the new things coming up for me that could be opportunities.

Did you think the judges were overly harsh? Did you think you hit every note and they just weren’t hearing things right?
No, there are parts of it where you could see what they were saying but there were parts where they were just trying to be harsh. They say things just to say things. I respect their opinion. But them saying songs were too big for me I didn’t appreciate. And I didn’t appreciate being compared to other people.

How did you stay focused?
The vocal coach told me, “Don’t mistake that feeling in your stomach for nerves. Sometimes it’s not you being nervous, it’s just your adrenaline preparing yourself for how big of a thing you’re about to do.” So I turned my nerves into positive energy. And before I got onstage, I would say a prayer.

Stephanie Edwards described the two of you as best friends. How hard was it standing next to her and knowing one of you was going home?
I knew she was going to make it. We both thought we were both going to make it, actually. She’s very sad for me. It was hard to go up onstage with her. I’m so happy for her, though.

How was it trying to focus on the competition when the rumor mill was working overtime, putting out pictures of you less than fully clothed?
It was very difficult. It was distracting and I tried to block it out and not go on the Internet. When it comes down to it, the pictures are irrelevant to me as an artist. That’s my personal life and it was exploited.

Do you know which friends leaked the pictures?
I have no way of tracing who it was. It was personal private property that got stolen from my computer. It was not meant for anyone else to see but me.

If you’re thinking about moving to L.A., you’re probably thinking about acting or modeling, right?
I’d love to do all three, act, model, and sing. I’m definitely willing to sort out the offers I get and figure out what’s best for me. I’d love to act, but singing is my ultimate goal.

I’m sure men’s magazines will be offering you covers. Would you consider that?
I’m definitely willing to look at whatever I’m offered and sort out what feels right to me.

Lisa de Moraes of the Washington Post reports  that the Idol publicist kept a tight lid on the kinds of questions Antonella could take from reporters during the satellite conference call.  

But when The Reporters Who Cover Television at last got a whack at her in the afternoon, during the traditional day-after March of the Booted “American Idol” Contestants conference call, their questions about the pictures and about some of the gigs she was now being offered were mostly censored by a publicist from the PR firm that has represented “Idol” producers since the show began.

So while we can absolutely report — and we know you’re dying to know — that Antonella will entertain offers to sing “R&B-ish, ” “bluesy” or “jazzy” music, though she definitely prefers pop, we sadly cannot confirm that, as her BFF and fellow “Idol” auditioner Amanda Coluccio steadfastly has insisted, Antonella would never wear acrylic tips on her fingernails.


The judges were genuinely shocked when you were sent home. What was going through your mind?
I was shocked too. I was definitely surprised and really hadn’t prepared myself for going home. Part of that is because of the judges’ comments, saying, “You will definitely be here! You deserve to be in the top 12!” And I took that under consideration. America took it under consideration and thought I was safe and didn’t need to vote. It feels like that was kind of what happened. I watched the show for five years and I tried to prepare myself every Thursday, ’cause you just never know and these things have happened before. I absolutely wanted to be in that 12. I’d already gotten ready to sing with [next week’s guest coach] Diana Ross.

So what went wrong?
Part of it maybe was because of the comments the judges said that I would be in the top 12. I didn’t think at the time, ”Oh wait. This could backfire.” You just never know what to expect with the show. I’ve watched it for five years. I know that’s the way it goes.

The judges also seemed disappointed. Did they say anything to you?
Absolutely. They all came up to me and their words of support were really encouraging, about how at this point it’s no longer about singing and it’s about popularity. You can’t always count on everyone who wants you to go ahead and vote.

Because it’s a popularity vote to an extent, did you think about things like how you wore your hair or what outfit you put on more than you might have otherwise?
Absolutely. Especially this week I really tried to take the comments from the second week into consideration. The judges said I didn’t come off as young. I tried to return to that. I felt like I looked my best. I felt like I sang strongly. I enjoyed the song. That’s the way to go out. If I had been disappointed in my performance I would be more upset today.

Which Diana Ross song were you planning on singing next week?
”You Can’t Hurry Love.” I was already planning it out in my head how I wanted the band to do it. I was thrilled about meeting her. She’s an icon. The ’60s and ’70s are my genre. That’s the real disappointing part, not getting to work with all the people coming. Hopefully I’ll still get to work with them someday.


I love how honest you were last night with Ryan about being really shocked that you were the one going home.
What else did you expect? I was just shocked. I was not expecting it at all. I really wasn’t. The voting was off but what are you going to do?

What do you mean the voting was off? Because of any reason in particular?
I think that Simon’s comments on Tuesday had a lot to do with what’s going on. I don’t know what else to say. With Paula saying I need more coloring? It really bothered me. I went on YouTube and checked out my performance again and again. I thought vocally and my stage presence was good. I was critiquing myself as if I was a fan. I have no regrets. I think people really listened to the judges or thought I was safe.

What do you think about the judges saying you need to show more originality?
I was doing songs where they recommend [that you not change them] so much. I was doing Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, I wasn’t doing 311. I didn’t want to change those songs too much, because they would have said, “Don’t mess with those.” So it was lose-lose for me.

Does it slay you that there’s at least one less talented singer than you still in the top 12?
For a few nights it’ll bother me. I didn’t get much sleep last night thinking everything over. Especially because I’m a tall guy, I’m 6’4” so when Ryan called me up I looked right down at the cue card and I saw what the outcome was. As soon as I saw that I was like, ”WHAT?” but I couldn’t show it. Even seeing it I didn’t believe it.

Like What? (Regarding career possibilities)
Music-wise I can’t do much contractually until the end of the show. I’m going to look into modeling jobs and I can act as well. I’m hoping publicity and 19 Management are looking out for me because I really think I can make it. I don’t want a job. I want to reach my goals and dreams.


So you’re standing next to Sanjaya and you’re thinking no brainer you’re going to stay, right?
I had no idea I was going to go home. Not even the slightest.

Do you have a sense of what went wrong for you?
I don’t know exactly what happened. I guess people decided I was safe and automatically in the top 12. I just don’t know what happened. I had the most number of votes of all the guys for the two weeks before that though.

Did you have time to process the whole experience after the show?
I’m still confused over it. As soon as the show ended I went down to see the American Idol psychiatrist and my wife was there. They told me my second cousin had died in a house fire and was burned to death. At that point I didn’t care about American Idol anymore. I was heartbroken.

Your father, Roy Head, had a hit song. Would you have sung it?
Absolutely. I would love to have done that. I didn’t make it to the ’60s [theme night], obviously, but if I would have, that would’ve been a treat to do. My dad has been a great mentor in my life. He’s taught me everything I know. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for my dad. I love him to death.

Do you think singing “Jeremy” was a risk?
If we’re not taking risks, it’s pointless to be there. Anyone can come out and sing a song, but it’s when you take a risk that makes it worth it. I feel like I did do that song well. Maybe I just didn’t understand. I thought everyone knew who Pearl Jam was and what the song “Jeremy” was, ’cause in my life there was nothing bigger when the Seattle movement hit. And it was a time in my life when I actually was mowing lawns just to get the money to buy records. And Pearl Jam was one of my favorite bands and I felt that it was an honor to be able to do it on the show. Pearl Jam had never cleared a song to be performed on “American Idol” before. And when they told me they cleared the song for me to do it, I said, “Well, there’s no other way. I’ve gotta do this song. If out of nothing but just respect for Eddie Vedder.” It is what it is. I made that decision. I still feel good about it. I don’t know if that’s what tanked me or what. I do know that I was the #1-voted male for the last two weeks.

What is your next move?  
I’m gonna get a band together. We’re gonna start playing, and I’m gonna throw down everywhere I can and just be a road warrior. Try to keep my fans happy ‘  put stuff out on the Internet that they can listen to. And just keep on going. If anything else, this gives me more gas in my tank. And I just can’t wait to get into my yard and hug the trees. I’m going to go fishing tomorrow. And just try to ground myself and hash this out ‘  figure out what happened. I’m extremely confused. I’ve been riding this roller coaster for months now, and it’s like doing 80 in a Ferrari and then just hitting the wall. I just don’t know what happened. I’m a little bit confused. I don’t know which direction to go in. It’s a terrible thing. I could understand if I was sucking or whatever or just doing a terrible job, I could have prepared myself. But there was no doubt in my mind that I was gonna make it into the top 12. So emotionally I had no shields for this, and it’s really eating at me.

Well, having interviewed a bunch of Idol contestants who’ve been kicked off, I can tell you they all single you out as one of the nicest guys on the show. You must have gotten close to many of them because you were crying last week through the elimination show?
I’m a very emotional guy anyway. I had built relationships with every single contestant on the show because I’m just that type of person. It’s like being in combat and seeing one of your soldiers fall. It hurt every time.

Did you have ideas of which Diana Ross you were going to sing next week?
I was going to sing ”Reflections” and I was going to do a slight punk rock version of it.

Sanjaya seemed almost more shocked than you that you were the one going home. Did he say anything to you?
Sanjaya is only 17. He’s a kid. He’s a polite kid and he’s gonna make it in the business but at this point he’s so young he doesn’t know himself and his capabilities. He doesn’t have confidence in his voice. All that is going to come to him and when it does he’s going to be a great performer.

I guess you could take some consolation in the fact that someone like Chris Daughtry was kicked off early and he’s doing great.
But Chris didn’t get kicked off early. He made it into the top 6. That’s a lot different than being the 13th man. I really have to prove myself more and work even harder now but that’s okay. I definitely have the capabilities to be a star.

About mj santilli 34980 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!